Stop, drop, and roll isn’t always enough to save your life when you’re caught amongst the flames. There are many additional tips that will help keep you safe. Plus, in the event of a fire, you should never have to Google “what to do in a fire.” That would be extremely dangerous since you don’t have much time to think or plan when a disaster strikes.
So, it’s crucial to learn the best practices for fire safety ahead of time. Preparing now can save your life later.
While it’s important, you know what to do if a fire occurs, knowing what not to do is just as critical. Making a wrong decision during a fire can be fatal.
In the event of a fire, you should never do the following six things
We’ve compiled a list of 6 things you should avoid if you’re caught in a fire.
In the event of a fire, you should never run back inside
In the event of a fire, you must evacuate as quickly as possible. You should stay outside until you’re directed by responders that it’s safe to reenter. If you run back inside, there’s no guarantee you’ll find your way out again. Certain parts of the interior that weren’t on fire before may have caught fire in the last few minutes. This means that running back inside could leave you trapped amongst the flames.
When firefighters arrive, let them rescue anything valuable that’s left inside. Your instinct may tell you to run back into the blaze to save a person or a family heirloom. But, trying to be a hero could have dangerous consequences.
Remember, nothing is more important than your life. Your top priority in a fire is to stay safe.
But what if I can run really fast?
Can you run through a fire? No. If fire catches on your clothes, running will only make it burn faster.
There’s a reason we use the phrase “spread like wildfire” to explain anything that travels at a rapid rate. Fire can spread at a rate of up to 14.29 mph. It also only takes 30 seconds for one small flame to erupt into a fire emergency.
So, even if you’re an Olympic sprinter, don’t take the chance of going back into a burning structure. Even if you don’t catch on fire, the smoke inhalation alone can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
In the event of a fire, you should never…Take The Elevator
We’ve all seen signs that read, “In case of fire don’t use the elevator”? Adhering to these signs can save your life! The main reason you shouldn’t take an elevator is because electric circuits are the most vulnerable in a fire. This means that the elevator can malfunction, leaving you trapped inside.
Elevators also act as natural chimneys. As a result, they can fill up with smoke very quickly.
So, always opt for the stairs if a fire catastrophe strikes.
In the event of a fire, you should never…Open Hot Doors
Practice caution when checking doors to find an escape route. If a door is hot when you touch it or has smoke seeping through the cracks, don’t open it. Hot doors are likely to have a fire on the other side of them—the door functions as a barrier to hold the fire back. So, opening it will make the fire spread. This is because opening a door provides a flow of oxygen, and oxygen feeds a fire.
But what if I have to open a door?
Sometimes opening a door may be your only option. If this is the case, make sure you immediately shut the door behind you. This ensures that the oxygen from other areas doesn’t continue to fuel the flames.
In the event of a fire, you should never…Hide
While hiding can present the illusion of safety, it’s exceptionally dangerous. Firstly, the firefighters will have an even more difficult time finding you if you’re in hiding. Secondly, crawling into a cupboard or under your bed can’t keep you safe from the dangers of fire. Smoke has no boundaries and can travel through the tiniest of cracks to get to you.
In the event of a fire, you should never…Break a Window
Remember, oxygen is the life support to a blazing fire. Fires need to be smothered, and opening a window will only add more oxygen to the flames. This is why you should keep windows closed to starve the fire.
A burning building window that’s closed is a barrier between your safety and the threat of a growing fire. This said, if your only way out is a window, use a rope or a designated fire window ladder. Jumping out of a window could kill you. So, always try to find an interior escape route before attempting to go out a window.
In the event of a fire, you should never…Aim a Fire Extinguisher at the Top of the Flames
If you decide to fight a fire with a fire extinguisher, you should aim it at the base of the flames and sweep in side-to-side motions to attack the fire. Aiming at the top of the flames won’t target where the fuel of the fire is. The extinguishing agent will simply penetrate the flames and do nothing. Also, if you’ve ever wondered, “Is it bad to inhale a fire extinguisher?”– don’t worry, it can cause irritation but resolves quickly in most cases.
But what if I can’t get the fire extinguisher to work?
Every second you’re caught amid a fire increases smoke inhalation. So, if the fire doesn’t die down immediately from the fire extinguisher, drop the extinguisher and escape as fast as you can.
So, what should I do in the event of a fire?
You now know that in the event of a fire you should never do the six things we’ve covered. As critical as it is to know what not to do in a fire, it’s just as important to know what to do in a fire.
Your top focus in a fire is to get out. Remember, finding a place to hide is one of the most risky things you can do. If you’re in a building, follow the emergency exit signs for your fastest escape route. If you’re in a home, stay low to the ground (crawl on the floor) and make your way outside.
Conduct a risk assessment
It’s great to be prepared for a fire, but it’s even better if you can prevent one from starting. This is why carrying out a risk assessment is so important.
A fire risk assessment predicts what areas are at risk of a fire starting. It also finds the safest and most efficient escape route. Conducting a risk assessment allows you to take precautions that you wouldn’t otherwise know about.
Practice an evacuation strategy
Checking that your fire alarms work isn’t enough to prepare you for a fire. Creating an evacuation strategy is a proactive step toward safety. In your workplace, everyone should know what the evacuation plan looks like.
When you go into panic mode, you can start forgetting critical steps to take. Make sure you practice your evacuation strategy regularly until it’s memorized. Then, you’ll only have to rely on muscle memory when making your way out of the flames.
The Bottom Line
If you don’t know how to act in the middle of a fire, you’ll begin to panic. And, freaking out will only distract you when you need to act fast in a fire emergency. But, in the event of a fire, you should never have to panic because now you know what to do.